Rory McIlroy hasn’t apologized for his outbursts of frustration, even as he got off to a great start in his bid for a fifth major title at the 122nd US Open.
cIlroy scored a three-under par 67 in Brooklyn to share the club’s first lead with Englishman Callum Tarren, Swede David Lingmert and American Joel Dahmen, with defending champion John Rahm returning 69.
A month after opening 65 in the US PGA, it was another long-awaited big start for a major for McIlroy after previous problems, but it was not without incident when he hit the bunker with one club and threw another down the fairway on his final hole. .
Starting in 10th place, McIlroy closed out his first 13 holes on two under-par courses before a tee hit in fifth place ended with a strong rough on the edge of the bunker and forced him to struggle to get into a stance on the sand with the ball. well above his feet.
From there, McIlroy could only land a second shot into another bunker a few yards in front of him, prompting a furious reaction when he hit the sand twice with his club.
“At the US Open, you will face things that you simply won’t face in any other week,” said McIlroy, who was not helped by the slow pace of the group in front of him, Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele. .
“It’s hard not to get upset because I’m going there, just going back to the bunker. The thickest rough on the track is along the edges of the bunkers.
“So I kind of cursed the USGA every time I came up to the ball, but this is one of those things. It happens here, it doesn’t happen anywhere else. You just have to accept it.
“I gave a couple of hits on the sand because I already messed it up so for Harry (Diamond, his caddy) it wasn’t much more work and then I just reloaded and did a decent shot from the bunker and then it was really nice to score this (par) blow.”
Keeping par in fifth, McIlroy scored seventh and eighth to take the lead, but lost his only shot of the day in ninth, missing the green as he approached.
This prompted the club to throw, with McIlroy adding: “There is a very good difference in this tournament and I think you can see it in some of the reactions.
“After playing our first nine in two less matches, my goal was to try to play this round without the scarecrow. I did it for 17 holes, which was great, and then I kind of thought about what shot to hit with the second shot on the nine and missed the green where you just can’t miss.
“I haven’t done this all day. If I missed, I missed in the right place, played for the fat part of the green, and so I was upset because you miss on the left, it’s quite easy up and down. You make steam, you move on.
“But it’s all right. There is something to learn. (I) sit here talking about bad things when 17 holes were really good. I’m happy with the start.”
Tarren, ranked 445th in the world, has killed an eagle, three birds and two ghosts at 67. The 31-year-old from Darlington admitted that his presence at the top of the leaderboard came as a shock.
“I’m kind of pinching myself because I didn’t realize my name was at the top of the leaderboard until I hit the last shot,” Tarren said. “Just excited about my start and we’ll see what happens in the next few days.”
Ram scored last, ending an eventful 69th match that included two young spectators running away with the ball on the 18th and some uncharacteristically poor approaches.
“There were about five iron shots that I completely messed up,” Ram said. “I’m not too worried.
“I think a lot of it was down to some hesitation and doubt because we weren’t exactly sure where the wind was blowing and we didn’t dedicate 100% of the time to the shot.”
Among later starters, Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick chipped in on a glittering birdie on the 12th to reach three under par, a throw from the leader now held by Canada’s Adam Hadwin, who had seven holes.